When we adopted Lobo, we were told he had separation anxiety. It was suggested to us that he go to doggie day care every day while we were at work. We started out this way and all was well. Yet something didn’t seem quite right.
We have two other dogs at home. They stay home all day while we are out at work. We knew that Lobo could do the same. So we started to leave him at home for the latter half of the day. We’d pick him up from doggie day care in the early afternoon. Drop him off at home with Fiona and Secret. And head back to work for another four hours.
I was nervous. Lobo seemed to have some aggression issues, which mostly manifested in barking but sometimes rough play.
The separation issues were not with us leaving him at home. The separation anxiety was simply about being left totally alone. When the other two dogs were with him, he was not alone at all. He had a pack of sisters.
Soon we were leaving Lobo home all day with the girls. There was no destruction, no accidents, no injuries. The only thing that happened was when we had a thunderstorm, Lobo moved the couch out from the wall to hide behind it. That fear too has receded with time and patience.
Dogs are pack animals. Huskies are more pack animals than some other breeds, in my experience. Once Lobo had the security of the pack and the comfort of a regular schedule to understand, he was just fine in the house all day while we were out.
Now our final challenge is that when Lobo came to us he was on prozac, a medicine used to treat depression and anxiety in both animals and in people. We were not sure what he was like before the meds, and one of our vets cautioned us to be wary of his “honey moon period” of being good, and not take him off the meds without seeing a behaviorist first.
Although I respect this opinion, Rob and I did not agree with it. We wanted him off the medicine and were certain he did not need it long term. We talked to our usual vet who suggested we bring Lobo’s dose down from 20 mg to 10 mg for a while and then wean him off over a period of two weeks with a pill every other day.
We are currently in the midst of this process and giving him the lower dose, and all is going very well. Lobo is a little extra, what we call “barky bark”, where he barks at us for seemingly no reason. Yet it lasts for no more than a minute or so, we give him some affection, and he lies down at our feet. Other than that, we are seeing no ill effects.
I do feel that some dogs who are labeled as having separation anxiety, may profit by simply having another dog around with them. I know this doesn’t work in all cases but it may be a simple way to eliminate stress for some pets and their families. Adding another animal to the house may sound like a lot of work, but they keep each other company, tire each other out when they play and can bond like devoted family members. If your poor dog trembles when you leave the house, it may be worth trying!! Consider a foster situation where you have the option to adopt if all goes well – that’s how we wound up with three (amazing) dogs….
© Copyright 2015, Woofus | Janet McGrane Bennett. All Rights Reserved